The Multi-Genre Writer and an Agent

Submission protocol, query etiquette, and strategies that work
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Blondie
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The Multi-Genre Writer and an Agent

Post by Blondie » April 26th, 2010, 9:21 pm

Howdy,

In my Interweb perusing of agents, I've noticed that a few - like Nathan - have diverse interests and are willing to rep a variety of works. Some, are very narrowly focused - like "I only rep funny non-fiction writers," or, "I only rep certain religious-themed books." All of this is very understandable, and I offer props equally to those who know what they want, and those with very broad tastes! However, this becomes a little difficult for the writer of diverse interests, such as myself, since I assume that it is bad form to have more than one agent at a time. Agents put as much blood, sweat, and tears into our copies as we do so it makes sense that we should stick to seeking out an Agent who can rep us fully, and with whom we can develop a solid relationship.

Thus, my question: what is the appropriate protocol for writers with multiple genres? Do we seek one agent for say a non-fiction how-to book concerning "the proper usage of hammers and the avoidance of your significant others' fingers," and another agent for the wuxia Fiction subgenre of "Master Li's Five Finger Palm Exploding Heart Shaolin Temple Ninja Adventures for children series"?

Alternatively, if your dream multi-genre agent rejects your hammer and fingers book, is it safe to query them the following week with your series of Master Li's Five Fingered Ninjas?

Thanks mucho,

-B

Blondie
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Re: The Multi-Genre Writer and an Agent

Post by Blondie » April 26th, 2010, 9:33 pm

Oh yeah, before I forget, I did read the FAQ on genre hopping ( http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2007/12 ... pping.html ).

The above question relates to those who have already made the decision to genre jump, for whatever reason...and obviously the 2nd half pertains to those who aren't published in any genre (so it matters somewhat less..I think).

-B

Margo
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Re: The Multi-Genre Writer and an Agent

Post by Margo » April 26th, 2010, 9:55 pm

Unless you have very specialized genres, you should be able to find at least a handful who handle both of your genres. I have been looking for an agent who reps both my genre and a genre that tends to tinge my work just a little. The readers of the two genres also tend to read across both the genres anyway. I would hate to approach an agent who reps my genre but hates the one that slips in at the edges. I have found (I guesstimate) more than three dozen agents who rep both my genre (and sub-genre) and the also-just-a-touch-of genre.

Just search some of the larger online agent sources. I suspect you'll find a bunch.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

Blondie
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Re: The Multi-Genre Writer and an Agent

Post by Blondie » April 27th, 2010, 12:39 pm

Thanks Margo.
My genres are fairly different indeed, but the topic(s) I write on keep the material fairly well in my wheelhouse. In other words, I like to write about the same things, but from different perspectives. I also acknowledge that my abilities with fiction end somewhere between my brain and the paper, so I'm not going to pretend to go down that road professionally, even if it is fun in a "don't listen to me serenade the shampoo," sort of way. I'm not so diverse as my finger example. However, as I look through agents, I don't often find them repping more than one..maybe 2.. of the genres I like to work in, and I have only found about 5 agents who specifically cover 1 of the topics I write on. 0 for another. I know I am missing a ton of agents though, since the niches aren't that tiny. Looking through acknowledgments of my "peers" hasn't helped either since none of them mention their agents. Apparently I associate with a group of ingrate jerks ;)

Perhaps I just need to broaden my search? Which "agent search engines" do you suggest?

I am still curious about the protocol for querying the same agent with a completely different work following rejection issue. Does the 6 month wait still apply?

-B

Margo
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Re: The Multi-Genre Writer and an Agent

Post by Margo » April 27th, 2010, 3:24 pm

Blondie wrote:Thanks Margo.
...However, as I look through agents, I don't often find them repping more than one..maybe 2.. of the genres I like to work in...

Perhaps I just need to broaden my search? Which "agent search engines" do you suggest?

I am still curious about the protocol for querying the same agent with a completely different work following rejection issue. Does the 6 month wait still apply?

-B
You're welcome. I might have read your inital post too quickly. How many genres do you want to work in? The more you choose...yeah, definitely, the harder it will be to find that magic combo of specializations in a single agent. I think you would probably be fairly safe if you find an agent who covers all but one (maybe two) and does not specifically say they don't want to see one of your genres. I can think of a couple of writers who wrote books that combined genres and signed with agents who only rep'd one of those genres or who did not rep the main genre in the work but specialized in the secondary genre.

For searching, I spent a gawd AWFUL amount of time on agentquery.com and at Publishers Marketplace.

I'm not sure about protocol for querying an agent with different work after a rejection. I suspect it depends on the agent.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

wildheart
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Re: The Multi-Genre Writer and an Agent

Post by wildheart » April 27th, 2010, 6:53 pm

I would think that if an agent REALLY loves the ms you send them and decides to represent you they will do the same for other works regardless of the genre. They just can't promise anyone would want to publish them. At least, from what I have read on different agent blogs this is the case. I can't see why you would need more than one agent even if you write in many genres.
http://wildheart90.blogspot.com/
A mother. A writer. A dreamer.

wildheart
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Re: The Multi-Genre Writer and an Agent

Post by wildheart » April 27th, 2010, 6:55 pm

Oh, and I recently found QueryTracker.com...they have an excellent list of different agents. You could probably find quite a few on there you don't have on your list.
http://wildheart90.blogspot.com/
A mother. A writer. A dreamer.

Blondie
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Re: The Multi-Genre Writer and an Agent

Post by Blondie » April 27th, 2010, 6:55 pm

Thanks again Margo - I've looked through Publishers Marketplace, but I'm thinking I may need to spend a little more time there. Will be checking out Agent Query for sure.

I'd say the majority of my writing interests fall into 4 basic categories: Military, Politics/gov't, Sports/Fitness, Spirituality/Philosophy/Religion-depending on the publisher. Obviously, the first two can very much go together. The third stands alone just fine, and the fourth...well...that's it's own thing (I'm not into manifestos so much as research). Of the authors I read, only one really crosses the genres by combining spirituality with politics, but I have no idea who his agent might be, assuming he has one. He's been published through a number of houses.

I'm sure that agents exist who would be willing to rep all of these, assuming my work is of high enough caliber to warrant their effort. I'm just not sure who those agents might be, though it'd probably be obvious if I wasn't looking so hard. I intend to query only one project at a time, but I'd like to start off by reaching out to an agent who might cover all of these since I am a fan of long-term business partnerships. I'm thinking your suggestion of querying an agent with stated interest in all but one category and is not expressly opposed to the other, may be the way to go. It's possible that my chops in any one of these are not good enough and it's a waste of concern...

Thoughts?

-B

Blondie
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Re: The Multi-Genre Writer and an Agent

Post by Blondie » April 27th, 2010, 7:00 pm

wildheart wrote:Oh, and I recently found QueryTracker.com...they have an excellent list of different agents. You could probably find quite a few on there you don't have on your list.
Thanks Wildheart! Will check this out today as well. I was kind of hoping your 1st post might be the case; apparently it is. As for agents not guaranteeing anyone will want to publish - I think that part of the roller coaster fun of writing, eh? ;)

-B

wildheart
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Re: The Multi-Genre Writer and an Agent

Post by wildheart » April 27th, 2010, 7:11 pm

I think Nathan has a post on his blog about this very subject, but I don't remember at the moment...

Oh yes, it is very much part of the fun!

Good luck on finding agents to represent your work!
http://wildheart90.blogspot.com/
A mother. A writer. A dreamer.

Margo
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Re: The Multi-Genre Writer and an Agent

Post by Margo » April 27th, 2010, 8:54 pm

So, Blondie, would you be doing fiction and non-fiction in all four? And is there one or two that you think you might be writing in more than the others? Or perhaps the better question is which one would your first queryable project be in?

Since I am doing agent research (though not in any of those genres) I could just keep your genres in mind and drop you a note if I notice anyone who kinda sorta maybe fits the bill.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

Blondie
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Re: The Multi-Genre Writer and an Agent

Post by Blondie » April 28th, 2010, 9:41 am

Margo - not sure if I would do fiction in all four. I could see fiction in 2 of them, but I'm going to hold off on that until I get more creds. I know my limitations ;)

I have about 3 proposals for nonfic works in the stack, and should be ready to Query on a completed one in the Pol/Phil arena, soonish. The difficulty has been finding an agent who has stated interest in the mix of genres I work. But, thanks to you and Wildheart, using the tools you both offered, I now have a list of about 20 potential agents. WOOHOO!! Of Course, Nathan still gets first refusal because he gives us such an awesome site...(whenever I actually query him).

Thank you for your offer! If you see anyone/anything in the ether you think might be good for me, by all means, please send me a note! Let me know how I can return the favor.

-B

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